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Photo Essay: Inside Tashkent's Space-aged Subway Station

Public transit for the masses was one of the cornerstones of Communist ideology. In the 1930s, automobile production was limited in favour of building new metro systems. The best artists and sculptors were employed to decorate the stations with patterned ceilings, soaring arches and dazzling chandeliers. Many of the stations boasted elaborate mosaics of the Soviet space program or heroes of industry. 

After the ban on photographing the Tashkent metro in Uzbekistan was lifted in 2018, Amos Chapple went to Uzbekistan to photograph the stations on the Tashkent subway. Here are a few of his photos…


Photography inside the heavily policed metro was forbidden until June 2018 because of the military sensitivity of its second role as a nuclear bomb shelter


Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space. Tashkent’s Cosmonauts Station honors the enduring icons of the space race with its Milky Way glass star ceiling and atmospheric azure walls.


A cashier at an entrance to the metro. A trip costs 1,200 Uzbek soms (12p), making it the cheapest subway ride in the former USSR


A shimmering corridor linking two stations. After an earthquake devastated Tashkent in 1966, cautious planners reportedly reduced the depth and increased the strength of the metro, tunnelling within a few metres of the streets above.

A mural celebrating 2,200 years since the founding of Tashkent, inside Tashkent station


 

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"We've Inspected the Sky Inside & Outside. No Gods or Angels Were Found" | Russia | 1964£1,500.00
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Further Reading

art

Soviet Intourist Travel Posters - How the USSR Used Art & Propaganda to Drive Tourism

Intourist held a monopoly on tourism in the USSR. As the only tourism agency in the Soviet Union, Intourist was responsible for attracting and accommodating all tourists. Like every other industry or ideal in the USSR, Intourist used propaganda to advance its agenda. Posters targeted western audiences. They portrayed the Soviet Union as a glamorous and exotic land rather than a country of labourers and peasants.

art

The Definitive History of the Soviet Propaganda Poster

The Soviet Union used propaganda as a vehicle to disseminate communist ideology, promote the goals of the Communist Party and their own world view. After the Russian Revolution in 1918, the transformation of the Russian Empire into a socialist utopia required the retelling of history, the present and the future. Soviet propaganda posters have always kept pace with the times, and their legacy is intertwined with the rise and fall of the Soviet Union.

art

Art Factory: The Rise of Soviet Safety Posters in the Workplace

The industrialisation of the Soviet economy was Stalin’s top priority. By his own admittance, the Soviet Union is “fifty or a hundred years behind the advanced countries. We must make good this distance in ten years. Either we do it, or we shall be crushed.” A modern, industrial USSR would have economic independence from capitalist countries. Industrialisation meant the fundamental transformation of the Soviet Union from a predominantly agricultural economy into a leading industrial one.

culture

The OG of Photoshop: The Fabrication of Photographs in Stalin’s Soviet Surveillance State

It’s 1922, and a photograph of Stalin and Lenin sitting side-by-side appears in every newspaper across the Soviet Union. But everything wasn’t as it seemed. The photograph was a fake. It’s thought this photograph was the first time that Stalin used photo technicians to create a new reality, his version of reality.

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